The Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education held a revenue-neutral hearing and a budget hearing when it met Monday at the District Education Center. After a review of information, the budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 was approved.
Throughout Kansas, school budgets start with a 20.0 mill tax rate. This does not change, although it will bring in slightly less money next year. A “neutral tax rate,” bringing in the same amount of money as the year before, would have been 20.368 mills.
The supplemental general tax, also known as the local option budget or LOB, will be 13.84 mills, compared to 14.632 mills in 2021-2022, raising an estimated $2,397,663. The capital outlay tax will be 8 mills, compared to 6.492 last year, raising an estimated $1,385,884.
This brings the total for all other funds (not including the general) to 21.840 mills, raising an estimated $3,783,547. That is up from last year’s $3,442,886. The revenue-neutral tax rate would have been 19.824 mills.
The total mill rate for USD 428 is 41.840, compared to 41.124 in 2021-2022 and 41.544 in 2020-2021.
Rec Commission taxes
Although not part of the USD 428 taxes, the Great Bend Recreation Commission taxes are published on the same public budget notification. The GBRC tax rate will be 9.75 mills (8 for the commission and 1.75 for employee benefits and special liabilities). This is expected to raise $1,689,077. Last year the tax rate was 8.750 mills and the rate in 2020-2021 was 8.5 mills.
Also on the agenda
In other business the school board:
• Approved the Little Panthers Preschool Family Handbook.
• Heard a recommendation made by Human Resources Director Tonya Miller on a proposed change in the district’s recruiting software. Miller was unable to attend, so the information was presented by Assistant Superintendent John Popp.
The board voted to approve two software upgrades. The Frontline Recruitment Software replaces another product at a similar cost. There is a $10,517 annual fee plus a $6,500 one-time setup. The fee for Frontline Central, also approved, is $11,234 annually plus a $5,500 setup.
• Gave public notification that the budget application for federal early childhood funds, which cover the salaries for licensed special education staff, will be available for public review at the Barton County Cooperative of Special Education for the next 30 days.
The 2022-2023 application amounts to $1,073,286 for Title VI B pass-through funds (up $24,041 from last year) and $40,174 for the VI B ECH funds (down $840 from last year).
• Paid the balance due of $9,074 for the annual Workers’ Compensation insurance premium. The amount paid earlier was based on estimated payroll and the balance due was announced after numbers were audited and adjusted for July 2021 through June 2022 based on actual payroll.
• Approved site council members.
Assistant Superintendent reports
Assistant Superintendent Popp reported that COVID is not a required immunization for students at this time.
He also reported that all teaching positions have been filled in some manner. Substitute teachers are still needed.
Superintendent Khris Thexton reported Sept. 4-10 was Suicide Prevention Week, part of Suicide Prevention Month.
The Kansas Teacher of the Year Banquet will be Sept. 24 in Wichita.
Schools will observe Fire Safety and Awareness Week, Oct. 9-15. This year’s theme is “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape!”
The school board approved the following grants, contributions and grant applications:
• Great Bend High School FFA – $200 from Innovative Livestock Services LLC, $100 from P&S Electric, and $200 from Midcon Oil Tools.
• GBHS Theatre Club, $200 from United Way Central Kansas.
• GBHS Activities, $230 from the Duane Sack Memorial to be used for GBMS Golf Team athletic equipment.
• For the Random Acts of Kindness Club: $100 from Chris and Julie Spray, $100 from Scott and Karen Moeder, and $300 from Rosencrantz-Bemis.
• The Central Kansas Library System donated $500 to be equally distributed to USD 428 libraries.
• Reward incentive contributions – $473.12 to Lincoln Elementary and $305.81 to Riley Elementary from Kroger; $5.77 to GBHS Activities from Ohio Pyle Prints; $222.18 to GBHS Activities from CLC/K-12 Licensing; $565.62 to GBHS FFA from Zoetis (vender incentive awards designated to FFA by Animal Medical Center and Countryside Veterinary).
• PTO/Booster Club contributions: Lincoln Elementary PTO contributed $1,869.69 for Lincoln student and staff T-shirts; GBMS Booster Club contributed $2,215 to the middle school athletic department for a panther mascot costume.
• USD 428 Food Service will apply for and accept $94,710 in grant aid from the USDA Federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. The program introduces a variety of produce to elementary children who may not otherwise have the opportunity to sample these foods. The program runs from October 2022 through September 2023.
• Barton County Special Services will apply for a Walmart grant to provide funds to purchase interactive touch screen panels for teachers.
The board held an executive session to discuss potential district properties. When the board returned to the open meeting, it approved the acquisition of the CUNA Mutual Group property at 1809 24th St. for the approved purchase price of $1.3 million. See the story from earlier this week at this link.